Democratic Rebuttal to GOP FBI Memo May Be Released This Week


(Bloomberg) -- The Republican leading the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation said he wants to see as early as this week the release of a Democratic rebuttal to a GOP memo alleging FBI abuses of surveillance authority.

Representative Michael Conaway of Texas said he also expects former White House strategist Steve Bannon to come before the committee this week to complete his testimony. Bannon is expected to appear on Thursday, according to a House official familiar with the plans.

The White House said Friday it wouldn’t allow the Democratic memo to be publicly disclosed because it contains “properly classified and especially sensitive passages.” In a tweet Saturday, President Donald Trump called the Democratic memo “very political” and said he “told them to re-do and send back in proper form!”

Trump agreed early this month to release the GOP memo, which contended the FBI and Justice Department officials misled a surveillance court judge in getting a warrant to spy on a low-level Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page. The dueling memos both examine the origins of the Russia inquiry, including how the FBI got the surveillance warrant. Much of the underlying evidence, including the warrant application, remains classified.

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The Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat, Adam Schiff of California, told reporters he’s working with the FBI and Justice Department to “identify any issues that we can resolve quickly, and I think we will.”

Conaway said the committee will take another vote on releasing the memo if it’s needed. Neither he nor Schiff said they knew if such a second committee vote would be needed. It depends on how substantive the changes will be.

"We’d like to get it out this week so that everybody could have a chance to see it," he said.

Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes of California has recused himself from leading the investigation into Russian election meddling, but led the effort to release the GOP memo.

When Bannon appeared before the committee on Jan. 17, he refused to answer some questions, saying he was following White House instructions. Bannon didn’t show up when he was subpoenaed to a closed-door session with the Intelligence panel last week. He said he would appear if an agreement could be reached with the White House on the scope of the questioning, according to two people who requested anonymity.

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